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Archives for March 2014

Wall-E on the Job

One day while Wall-E was on his way to the Frontier Café to take his lunch, he heard several footsteps behind him. He turned around and saw a few familiar faces of the About Face guys he attended classes with. “They must be on their way to lunch too,” Wall-E thought. He decided to sit down with them in the cafeteria. He thought it would be a nice way to catch up with his friends.


After he grabbed his food, Wall-E walked over to the table where they all sat. He couldn’t help but notice Robert, one of the guys he used to live with at Rawhide. Robert looked like there was something bothering him. Wall-E knew that Robert was having trouble adjusting to life at Rawhide. He missed his family, especially his older brother. But Robert had not been doing well at home. He was failing almost all of his classes in school, and he started skipping them without his parents knowing. When they found out about this, they decided Robert needed to go somewhere he could change his ways.

Wall-E sat down next to Robert and asked him what was wrong. Robert was sort of hesitant at first, but he knew Wall-E was someone he could trust ever since they roomed together and became friends. “I am having a hard time in my house right now. I have been making some stupid mistakes, and I am afraid Pops is going to be mad at me,” Robert said.

Comforting Words

Wall-E could relate, but he knew that everyone at Rawhide understood, including Ed and Patti. They allowed others to make mistakes once in a while. “Don’t worry Robert,” Wall-E said as he put his arm around Robert. “I used to make mistakes all the time. But everyone understands that we are not perfect, and if you are trying to change, that’s what really matters. Trust me. Pops will not be mad at you.”

Robert looked at Wall-E for a moment and said “But how do you know they won’t be mad at me?” “Because I’ve been there, Robert,” replied Wall-E. “You know that.”

Robert remembered the time that Wall-E didn’t want to help with the dishes after dinner one night. Ed and Patti were disappointed in Wall-E, but they excused him and let him go to his room for the night. That was one of the nights Wall-E missed out on dessert.

“Maybe you are right, Wall-E,” said Robert, as he picked up his ham sandwich. “I know I’m right,” replied Wall-E. “The best thing for you to do now is leave what you did behind you. You can make it better by trying again. Tomorrow is a new day, and you get to start over fresh! Just try really hard to do everything you are expected to do and things will be better for you.”

Wall-E’s words really seemed to make an impact on Robert. He cracked a half smile. “I am so glad you are still here, Wall-E. You are a great friend,” Robert thanked Wall-E for the advice as they continued to eat their lunches. Wall-E felt good that he took the time to find out what was wrong with Robert and gave him some advice. Wall-E liked the changes that Rawhide had helped him make in himself. He left work that day feeling satisfied.

How did Wall-E come to the Ranch? Read part 1!

Alumnus Gives Hope to Troubled Youth

Rawhide has been a home and hope to troubled youth for more than 40 years, helping at-risk teens become respectable and responsible members of society, but the help doesn’t necessarily end once a student leaves the ranch. Our students are always family whether they are currently enrolled in a program or are an alumni. We offer assistance to any of our alumnus for life. Our primary goal is to offer students a support system that they can depend on anytime in their lives.

Returning Alumni

Many of our alumni have found themselves back at Rawhide sharing their stories with students and staff for our St8Up Program, held every Friday at the Starr Academy. The Str8Up Program brings in guests speakers and gives students the chance to hear their individual stories of overcoming their struggles and achieving success.

30 Years Later

One alumni, named Steve, returned to Rawhide 30 years later to share his story of how we made an impact on his life and how he found his path to God. Steve came to us because of his behavioral problems. He had a troubled childhood living with his mom and step-dad who physically abused him. He had a bad attitude and began getting into trouble at school. When he first arrived here, his bad attitude continued and things didn’t change. The first day living with his houseparents, Steve earned himself three weeks of dish duty within an hour because of his continuous use of profanity.

A Light Goes On

It wasn’t until later on in his life that Steve realized how many problems his poor choices had caused him. This realization had him turn to God. Steve explained to our students all of the things that had become better in his life after he accepted God into his heart. He was much more positive and he saw improvements in his marriage. When he started seeing these changes in his life, he knew that faith was guiding him in the right direction. He shared his story to give our students hope.

At the end of his speech, Steve led a prayer and encouraged students to join in. He and his wife also handed out Bibles. Steve believes that his experience has taught him how to help others find a relationship with God. He stated that he is “stepping up to the plate to save someone else’s life.”

Rawhide programs have profound impact on and give hope to troubled youth. Steve’s story is just one more example of how our support services at Rawhide can help make a difference in a young person’s life.

How You Can Help

Would you like to be a part of that difference? All you have to do is lend a hand and make a donation.

A Better Life for Wall-E

Wall-E kept up his good behavior and graduated from Rawhide with good marks. He listened to everyone in charge and completed his program. Everybody was pretty sad to see him go, but they were also proud of the changes he made to lead a more responsible life. Wall-E left Rawhide with a heavy heart, but he knew it wouldn’t be the last time he would walk the grounds.

Back home, Wall-E’s parents could tell a difference in his behavior. He no longer acted out when things didn’t go his way, and his grades in school were a big improvement. He was no longer getting into trouble with other kids in his neighborhood. His life is much more positive that he graduated from high school, something he feared he would never be able to do. He is on his way to becoming a better chunk of metal.

One day, about 6 months after he graduated from Rawhide, Wall-E was sitting at his desk surfing the web for job postings when he came across a position that sparked his interest. It was a part time position at Rawhide for an Animal Care Specialist. Wall-E excitedly filled out the application and waited to get a call back. It was a few weeks after he had filled out the application when Wall-E heard back about the position. They wanted him to come in for an interview. Wall-E couldn’t believe it! He was going to be back at Rawhide, even if it was just for an interview. He really wanted the job to save up money for college, so he began to prepare for the interview. He went shopping in search of the perfect suit for the interview. He found a classic black suit and paired it with a gray button up shirt and a navy and black striped tie. The perfect colors to bring out the shine of my metal, he thought.  He then remembered he should make an appointment to have his metal cleaned and shined. When Wall-E returned home, he looked in the mirror and saw a brand new robot staring back at him. He was much more responsible and ready for the interview.

The drive to Rawhide was longer than he remembered, but as he drove, Wall-E enjoyed the beautiful yellow and orange colors of the leaves, something he had always enjoyed about Rawhide.  He flashed back to all of the moments he had really enjoyed. He was excited to see all of the people who had helped him.

Much to Wall-E’s surprise, the interview went extremely well. He answered all of the questions with confidence and they offered him the job right on the spot! In just a few short weeks, Wall-E was making his way to Rawhide on a daily basis to perform a job at the place he loved so much.

The first day on the job was kind of interesting for Wall-E. It was so strange to be back at Rawhide because everyone acted as if he had never even left. However, they no longer treated him like a student; he was now a fellow co-worker to other staff members. His work in the stables consisted of making sure the horses were fed, their stalls were clean, and that the horses received exercise. Wall-E worked really hard at his job. He enjoyed pushing his own limits and seeing all of the things he could accomplish in a single day.  He was so happy that Rawhide gave him this special opportunity to be back on the grounds, helping take care of the animals that had helped him when he needed it. “I am now returning the favor,” Wall-E thought.

Learn how Wall-E came to the Ranch and read Wall-E part 1!

About Face Sets up Mud Run as Community Service

We offer several different programs that help our students learn important life lessons while they attend Rawhide. Any of the life lessons that are taught to our students will benefit them by helping them become responsible and respectable members of society. Our About Face program is among these that teach our students valuable lessons that they will carry with them throughout their life. About Face teaches our students these lessons and skills through the work of community service projects.

About Face Program

The About Face program focuses on teaching our students the importance of hard work while lending a helping hand to local communities. These service projects are a great way to teach our students essential work skills. It gives them knowledge and skills that will be valuable in the workplace. This program is about two weeks long, with about 20 to 22 hours a week of community service projects to be performed. Most of the projects that our About Face program performs are local organizations. For smaller projects, students chop wood and deliver it to low income families that still use wood burners in their homes. Larger projects assist other nonprofit organizations in the area like Clarity Care in Oshkosh or Habitat for Humanity in Appleton. One of the organizations that About Face students did community service work for in 2013 was the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Shelter of Appleton.

Annual Warrior Princess Mud Run

On October 5th, the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Shelter had their 2nd Annual Warrior Princess Mud Run at the Mosquito Hill Nature Center located in New London, Wisconsin. The Warrior Princess Mud Run is a 5k for women and men of any fitness level. The course consists of 3 miles of wet and muddy obstacles that runners are supposed to complete, while running to get to each obstacle.

Funds raised from the run go towards supporting the Harbor House Domestic Abuse Shelter whose mission is to stop domestic abuse in the community.

How Our About Face Students Helped

Our About Face students helped setup the obstacles, retrieved the supplies, and readied the course for the mud run. Once the event was finished, our About Face program returned to help clean up the obstacles and course. The Warrior Princess Mud Run was extremely successful and beneficial for the Harbor House. They were very thankful for the help their volunteers and our About Face students offered with the event.

Community Service

The students’ community service work benefits them in so many ways. It teaches them how to become more responsible and teaches them how important it is to have good work ethic for any type of job. Most importantly, it teaches them how great it feels to help others. Giving our students the experience to help others really brings our organization full circle because it gives them the chance to give back to the community that provides help to them. What could be better than giving a little help back to others who have helped you?